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The Rampage

What Do You Stand For?

Ryan E., Sports Editor

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There’s a sold out crowd in Levi Stadium, and the San Fransisco 49’ers are about to take the field. Everyone rises for the national anthem; however, starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains seated. Public outrage soon follows. Accusations of him being anti-American result in many fans burning his jersey. He explains, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.” This is a good cause, but the message was perceived differently by many Americans, feeling he was disrespecting their country and those who served it.

This made me wonder: what does the flag stand for and what is the real purpose of the pledge of allegiance? Americans will frequently say freedom, but it’s much more complex than that.

Our flag symbolizes our country and the principles it was founded upon. Therefore, in honoring it, we are showing our gratitude towards these liberties. In Kaepernick’s case, he feels that our country has infringed upon these liberties, refusing to stand for something that is oppressing his race. Our flag, the pledge, and the national anthem have evolved to include our brave soldiers’ sacrifices. Senior Ryan Blankenship said, “We stand for the pledge because it represents not only our freedom, but the people who sacrifice their life everyday for this country.”

As a result, many angry Americans are claiming Kaepernick should respect the veterans. Senior Saahir Mukherjee explained, “While it can be said Kaepernick is disrespecting our troops and our country, one can argue that he is practicing his constitutional right of freedom of speech, honoring what our soldiers are protecting”. In response to the protest of the quarterback’s actions, many veterans started trending “#VeteransForKeapernick,” agreeing that he is displaying American values at their finest.

With regards to our school, we are legally required to have the pledge recited each morning, but students are not required to participate. This is to instill the principles of patriotism in children across the country.

Ultimately, Kaepernick has a viable reason to protest and is simply practicing one of his constitutional rights. He is not seated in spite of all soldier, all police officers, or all Americans. He is seated because he has observed a problem in society and wishes to make a change. Peaceful protest that voices frustration over corruption isn’t a bad thing; in fact, it’s what distinguishes America from other countries that don’t give their citizens any freedom.

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The Independent Student Voice of LMHS.
What Do You Stand For?